Atlanta Braves Oct 6, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; A detailed view of an Atlanta Braves postseason hat on the bench during a workout before the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It may be hard to believe but for long stretches in their history, the Atlanta Braves were one of the worst franchises in Major League Baseball.

As the Boston Braves, they were mired in mediocrity between 1917 and 1945. After briefly playing in Milwaukee, they moved to Atlanta and failed to put together a championship squad between 1966 and 1990. That changed in 1991 and the franchise has been to six World Series since then, winning twice (1995 and 2021).

Overall, the Braves have won four World Series titles, 18 National League pennants, and 23 division titles. Along the way, this franchise has produced some of the biggest names in baseball, some of whom became Hall of Famers or are future Hall of Famers.

Let’s take a closer look at the 10 best Atlanta Braves of all time.

10. Ronald Acuna Jr., outfielder

In his young career, Ronald Acuna Jr. has not only become the face of the Braves but perhaps the face of baseball. Acuna is a four-time All-Star, was named NL MVP, won NL Rookie of the Year, and has won a World Series. He is also the two-time stolen base leader across baseball. He has accomplished all of this even though he has had to deal with injuries over the past few years. But Acuna is well on his way to having a Hall of Fame with the Braves.

9. Dale Murphy, outfielder

Outside of the great Hank Aaron, if there is one player that personifies the Braves, it is Dale Murphy. Murph played for the Braves for 14 years and was the face of the franchise. He was known as a power hitter who, with one swing of the bat, could change a game. For a while, he was the best player the Braves had on their roster. Murphy was a seven-time All-Star, two-time National League MVP, five-time Gold Glove winner, and two-time home run and RBI leader. Unfortunately, Murphy had already left when the Braves made their World Series runs in the 1990s.

8. Freddie Freeman, first baseman

Like Dale Murphy, Freddie Freeman has become the face of the Braves. Unlike Murphy, Freeman did win a World Series ring with the franchise in 2021. In his MLB career, Freeman has a .301 batting average, 321 home runs, and over 1,100 RBIs. He has been named NL MVP, is a seven-time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and a three-time Silver Slugger winner.

7. Warren Spahn, pitcher

Warren Spahn started the Braves’ storied history of great pitchers. Spahn pitched for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, winning 363 games with a 3.09 earned run average. Spahn was a World Series champion, 17-time All-Star, and Cy Young winner. He also threw two no-hitters when he was 39 and 40, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.

6. Eddie Mathews, third baseman

Besides being a great player, Eddie Matthews has the distinction of playing for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. Mathews batted .271 with 521 home runs, and over 1,400 runs batted in. He was a two-time World Series champion and 12-time All-Star. One of the greatest moments in Mathews’ career was in the 1957 World Series when he hit the game-winning home run in game four of the World Series to defeat the New York Yankees.

5. John Smoltz, pitcher

John Smoltz began the Braves’ pitching dominance in the 1990s when he was traded from the Detroit Tigers. Smoltz made his mark as a starter but would later redefine his career in a closer role. Smoltz was known for his fastball that could leave batters shaking their heads wondering what just happened. Smoltz won 213 games with a 3.33 ERA in his career. His most impressive stat was he had over 3,000 strikeouts during his Hall of Fame career. He also helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a World Series title in 1992.

4. Tom Glavine, pitcher

Tom Glavine didn’t look like an intimidating pitcher, but don’t tell that to any batter who faced him. Glavine’s change-up messed with MLB hitters for years. He came up through the Braves organization and became the anchor of the iconic pitching staff that won a World Series. Glavine won 305 games in his career with a 3.54 ERA. He is also a 10-time All-Star, a two-time Cy Young winner, led the National League in wins five times, and won the Silver Slugger award four times. Glavine became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 with over 91 percent of the vote.

3. Chipper Jones, third baseman

It seems as if Chipper Jones was destined to play for the Braves. In the 1990 draft, the Braves had every intention of drafting pitcher Todd Van Poppel. But when Poppel made it clear he did not want to play for them, the Braves drafted Jones. Throughout his Braves career, Jones batted .303 with 458 home runs and over 1,600 RBIs. Jones is also a World Series champion, NL MVP, and was the 2008 batting champ. Jones was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.

2. Greg Maddux, pitcher

Perhaps the most dominant pitcher in MLB history was Greg Maddux. Maddux started with the Chicago Cubs but hit his stride once he came to Atlanta. Maddux’s pitches were often called filthy by those who tried to hit against him. He had four pitches in his arsenal: a four-seam fastball, a cutter, a curveball, a slider, and a splitter. Those four pitches helped Maddux win 355 games with a 3.16 ERA. Maddux, along with Randy Johnson, are the only pitchers in MLB history to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards. Maddux was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

1. Hank Aaron, outfielder

Was there any doubt who the greatest Braves player was? When you think of the Braves, the first name that automatically comes to mind has to be Hammerin’ Hank. Hank Aaron played for the Braves for 20 years, from Milwaukee to Atlanta. He was a World Series champion, NL MVP, a 25-time All-Star (you read that correctly), and was the Major League Baseball home run champ for decades. During his career, Aaron was a prolific hitter, batting .305 with 755 home runs and almost 2,300 RBIs. Aaron entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.